Tito Vilanova's step up from
assistant to Barcelona coach for next season is a sign of
continuity rather than the end of an era, the outgoing Pep
Guardiola said after Friday's 3-0 King's Cup final triumph.
Guardiola signed off the same way that he started at
Barcelona with a Cup final win over Athletic Bilbao, securing
his 14th trophy from the 19 competitions he has competed in
since taking charge in 2008.
"The important thing is that, with the concept we have, it
will continue," Guardiola told his last post-match news
conference at the Calderon in Madrid.
"These players will be just as competitive. Everything will
continue the same. The way we play didn't start and doesn't
finish with me.
"I leave with my head held high and with the club in a
position so that everything will carry on functioning the way it
has been doing."
Guardiola has said he is taking time out to rest but reports
in England and Italy have speculated that European champions
Chelsea and Inter Milan are keen to lure him back to football as
soon as possible.
He embraced his close friend Vilanova on the touchline at
the final whistle after Barca wrapped up a comprehensive victory
to ease some of pain after losing their La Liga and Champions
Pedro scored twice and Lionel Messi bagged the other in a
whirlwind opening half-hour that swept aside Bilbao, who also
lost the Europa League final to Atletico Madrid by the same
scoreline two weeks ago.
Barca fans chanted Guardiola's name in the second half and
club president Sandro Rosell said it was a fitting send off for
"He has left a legacy that Tito will continue," Rosell told
Barca's television channel.
"We don't forget Tito has also been a part of all this. He
will do just as well. The players are united and they all back
him. I don't see any end of an era. Those who see it that way
will be proved wrong."
Barca and Spain defender Gerard Pique celebrated by cutting
out part of the net and hanging it around his neck.
"I keep a piece of the net from all the goals where we have
won titles. I have a small museum at home," he told reporters.
"We have had a good year with four titles," he added,
referring to the European and Spanish Super Cups, the Club World
Cup and the King's Cup.
"A cycle ends but a new door opens and we are very
Vilanova's first official game as Barca coach will be
against arch-rivals and La Liga champions Real Madrid in the
Spanish Super Cup in August, the traditional curtain-raiser to
the new season.
He is suspended for the first leg, as is his opposite number
Jose Mourinho, after both were punished following a melee among
the squads at the end of last season's edition.
Mourinho received a two-match Super Cup ban for jabbing his
finger into Vilanova's eye while the Barca man got a one-game
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